Employers throughout the United States have been facing a major dilemma, and it’s not just the rising cost of health insurance. Employee accessibility to high-quality primary care physicians has taken a backseat to many cost-related issues, but has become a steadily-growing challenge with serious implications.

Fifty years ago, roughly half of America’s physicians were considered primary care doctors, according to CareHere findings. Today, that number is less than one third.

That trend is likely to worsen as the large majority of major medical school graduates are opting to pursue specialty practices. Meanwhile, many older primary care doctors are opting for retirement out of frustration caused by spending more time trying to make ends meet rather than actually practicing medicine.

It’s important to note that primary care physicians don’t just handle “simple things.” They’re highly trained and experienced in caring for chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. With fewer of them, the quality of care for such conditions suffers.

Chronic diseases account for 75% of every healthcare dollar spent on healthcare in America, and one in five emergency room visits could be avoided by having timely access to a primary care provider, according to CareHere.

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